American culture bought a story. It says we should all be heroes. But if we are all heroes, where are the guides, and who helps the heroes on their journey?
Joseph Campbell made famous hero's journey as a framework for understanding stories and myth in his 1949 book "The Hero with a Thousand Faces." The concepts have been distilled and made helpful in the business world by; Nancy Duarte, Donald Miller, Jeffrey Davis, and others.
I'll paraphrase the most condensed version of the heroes journey I've heard:
A character wants something and has to overcome an obstacle to get it.
We live life daily from our perspective; we naturally put ourselves in the hero's place - we are the hero of our own life.
But what Duarte and others point out for companies and leaders is that; in our work, our customers are the heroes, and we are their guides.
I see myself often not as a "hero of innovation" but instead as an "innovation guide." I help others overcome their obstacles by sharing skills, knowledge, and tools.
Life is complex. We are heroes and, at the same time, guides. We live and participate in many stories at once.
Be the hero of your own journey and the guide of many.